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Got a new Baby - Takamine F-400S

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Posts: 123
Estimable Member
Topic starter

Just went to a musical festival this past weekend at and visited a vendor who sales vintage instruments. He had some pretty kool stuff.

Anway, I had been looking for an inexpensive 12 String guitar, and also kind of wanting a Takamine to add to my playing collection.

So, on the wall he had a Takamine F-400S, and after a little negotiating was able to get it for $275 (no tax). It is in near perfect condition and looked to have strings that were at least 15 old. He told me it was a 90's model most likely. Anway, it was built in Japan in April 13, 1977. Its an interesting instrument as Takamine at that time was making nearly exact copies of Martin guitars. The headstock wording says "Takamine & Co." and underneth says "Est. 1962" so that it looks very much like a Martin. The S in the model number meant it had a sold wood top, and not laminated one.

Here is pic and spec of the guitar:

I re-strung it with new strings, and this thing just barks up a storm with tremendous tones and volume - I suspect because of the age of the wood and design. I also cleaned it, oiled the fretboard, etc. and other than just a couple very small dings thing just looks great.

What a sound!

If you look on ebay for Takamine between 1974-1982, some people call these the "lawsuit guitars" as some people think that Martin sued Takamine for making these, and that is not the case. Chris Martin says there was just a letter written to requst the logo be changed, and that is why they now use the Takamine logo most of us are familiar with. No lawsuit ever - just folklore kicking in big time probably to make these more valuable (which in my opinion is silly).

I am not sure, but there has been a little history that at some point in the late 60's or early 70's when the USA guitar producers were in big time trouble that it was Martin who actually tooled the Takamine plant in Japan to make these and import them to the USA. Then during all this Takamine made a deal or was purchased or managed by Karman Music (or something like that) and then Martin then didn't pursue this venture - so Takamine made and marketed them on their own.

Either way, this is a quality instrument in construction and sound. There is just tremendous build quality to it (no over flowing glue on the inside, good components, etc.). The action and neck is absolutely perfect.

My guess is this guitar should easily be worth $400 to $600 bucks in its condition, so I feel I got a fair deal and also just what I wanted in a 12 string.

Posted : 01/06/2010 4:18 pm
Posts: 1630
Noble Member

I know the guitar - they were the first Taks all right, and by Kaman Musical Instruments I think, the genius of a company behind Ovation, and making the backs with an aeronautical engineering background, the same stuff as helicopter blades?

Not that it matters but I had 1967 Ovation number 0111 in production order, then a 1969, then an early, early Takamine.

I think very highly of the Takamine, it was an excellent Martin copy. I gave it to a girl, now a woman, who does maybe 200 shows a year with it, and everybody, consistently thinks it is a Martin, and many people play and enjoy it in meet and greet, get a CD-signed-type thing etc.

Good for you for finding such a neat old guitar! They are the real thing. A Tak is original - a great guitar in its own right!

Sigmas are now hard to find, but not as hard as an early Takamine. Your guitar is extremely rare, and is a beautiful find.

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

Posted : 01/06/2010 10:18 pm
Posts: 123
Estimable Member
Topic starter

Just for curiosity and comparison, yesterday I played a 12 string Taylor 4xx model (as I am a Taylor owner of a 514cw) at the local store just to feel the sound difference and action compared to the $2,000+ Taylor. As much as I love Taylor, I have to say I prefer the Takamine F-400S in this situation as it has a more barky sound, and of course a much better $275 price. The action is almost idenntical with both guitars.

Posted : 09/06/2010 9:54 pm
Posts: 1704
Noble Member

Congrats! That is a sweet guitar. I'm sure it will treat you well. They have an awesome tone. A few years ago I picked up a Takamine G Series 523- 12 string. Absolutely love the tone and how it plays. Good luck with it. Hope you have many, many years of enjoyment from yours!

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.

Posted : 10/06/2010 3:55 am
Posts: 2415
Famed Member

I love those Takamine guitars, in my opinion, better than Taylor or Martin.....congrats on your purchase!!

In Space, no one can hear me sing!

Posted : 10/06/2010 4:10 am
Posts: 1
New Member

Bought one of those in 81... Stil have it and love it.

Posted : 10/02/2013 7:11 pm
Posts: 123
Estimable Member
Topic starter

Just played mine last week in a Gospel Jam session we had for several hours. Just love getting it out and playing it.

Posted : 11/02/2013 12:06 pm